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Fauci says Covid vaccine booster trials 'ongoing already' for original coronavirus and South Africa variant

Fauci says Covid vaccine booster trials 'ongoing already' for original coronavirus and South Africa variant
Clinical trials are already being conducted into Covid-19 booster jabs for people who have already been vaccinated against the disease, America's Covid czar and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said.

The ongoing trials are looking at booster shots of vaccines against the original "wild type" coronavirus, as well as a variant-specific version for the South Africa B1.351 strain, Fauci said during a White House press briefing on Friday.

He said the trials are focused on the "safety" of boosters and whether the extra jabs can increase the "ability of the antisera to ultimately neutralize both the wild type and the variant."

This week, Fauci and Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla both said it is likely people will need a booster dose within 12 months of completing their original Covid vaccination schedule.

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]Pfizer said in February it was testing a third booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine, while Moderna has said that booster shots for its jab will be ready later this year.

Moderna last week gave the first doses of its variant-specific booster candidate for the South Africa variant to participants taking part in a US phase two clinical study.

The study of more than 200 people includes some 60 volunteers who have already received an initial dose of the drugmaker's vaccine and will be given a modified booster to assess its effect on the variant.

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In February, Pfizer announced the launch of a three-phase trial of the Covid vaccine it has developed with BioNTech to assess its efficacy against the South Africa variant.

A study earlier this year found that the South Africa variant may be more resistant to vaccines because it contains the E484K mutation in its spike protein, which researchers said can "moderately escape" the neutralizing effects of antibodies.

South Africa suspended its use of AstraZeneca's vaccine in February due to the apparent ability of the indigenous variant to evade antibodies generated among the jab's recipients.

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